Chinese promoter Longjoy Sports on Monday surprisingly won the purse bid for the mandatory fight between unified light heavyweight world champion Artur Beterbiev and Meng Fanlong after their promoters were unable to make a deal.
Longjoy Sports, which has worked with Fanlong promoter Roc Nation Sports in the past and will co-promote the fight with RNC, bid $1.9 million at the auction at the IBF offices in Springfield, New Jersey, where Roc Nation Sports promoter Dino Duva submitted the winning offer on Longjoy Sports’ behalf. The Longjoy Sports bid beat the only other offer, which was a $1.315 million bid made by Beterbiev promoter Top Rank.
It is far more common for a champion’s promoter to win a purse bid than the challenger’s because the champion gets so much more of the money. Beterbiev, as the champion, is entitled to 65% of the winning bid, which means Longjoy Sports must pay him $1.235 million. Meng is entitled to 35% of the bid amount ($665,000).
Duva told ESPN that the plan is to put the bout on in late March or early April in China, Meng’s home country.
“They will stage the event in China, but we are waiting on the exact date and the venue, but we will co-promote the show with them,” Duva said. “The preliminary indications are that the fight will be in either Shanghai or Macau, but that could change.”
Had Top Rank won the bid, the company hoped to put the fight on in either Montreal or Quebec City. Beterbiev, who was a two-time Russian Olympian, relocated to Montreal for his professional career and has lived there since turning pro in 2013.
“(Longjoy Sports) won the bid and the other details are still being worked out as we speak, but we consider Artur to be the best light heavyweight in the world,” Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti told ESPN.
The 34-year-old Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs), who is one of boxing’s most devastating punchers, won a 175-pound world title in 2017 and has made three successful defenses, but none bigger than in his last fight. On Oct. 18, in Philadelphia in the main event of a Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card, Beterbiev knocked out Oleksandr Gvozdyk in the 10th round of an action-packed fight to unify two world titles.
Meng (16-0, 10), 31, a southpaw, won a unanimous decision against then-undefeated Adam Deines on June 1 in Macau in a world title elimination bout to become Beterbiev’s mandatory challenger. Meng returned for a second-round knockout of Gilberto Rubio on Oct. 5 in a stay-busy fight before his chance to fight for the world title.